Hacker Valley Studio
Episode 121 - What Is Your IP Address with Chris Parker

Episode 121 - What Is Your IP Address with Chris Parker

February 20, 2021

In this episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Chris Parker, creator of WhatIsMyIPAddress. His website now reaches six million monthly visitors and began as a necessity to solve a technical problem, which you can probably guess, determine his IP Address.

WhatIsMyIPAddress predates Google and was often found through the search engine AltaVista. For years, the site was simple, straightforward and didn’t have any graphics or markup (HTML). At some point, Chris stumbled upon a Content Management System (CMS) called Geek Log but quickly learned with the amount of traffic that it was best for him to manually code each page on his website. For quite some time Chris maintained the website, answered questions from users about IP Addresses, and created more content without receiving any monetary compensation. The advent of Google AdSense led Chris to realize that he could make a profit for hosting his website.

Chris’s website is in the top 3,000 websites on the Internet and was managed out of his home office for over 8 years. As you can imagine, he received traffic from users across the world and was even the target of some cybersecurity attacks. However, keeping the functionality on his website simple, the biggest threat Chris faced was Denial of Service (DoS). After moving his website from his home to a CDN provider that blocks malicious traffic and bots, Chris saw a 90% reduction in web traffic to his website. This led Chris down the path of creating content about security and configuration.

With such a large audience, Chris decided to start the Easy Pray podcast and help listeners learn how to avoid becoming easy targets for scammers and fraudsters online and in the real world. Chris recalls a story of a fraud group that scammed victims by telling the victim that they’ve won the lottery in their country but are unable to withdraw the winnings because of citizenship. This scam is not uncommon and has caused hopeful individuals to lose thousands and sometimes their entire life savings. Chris has set out on a mission to inform others of these scams and create awareness about online safety.

 

Impactful Moments

0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio

1:44 - Introducing Chris Parker, Creator of WhatIsMyIPAddress

5:11 - Was the naming of the website intentional or was it incidental?

6:04 - Adapting and digital transformation

7:29 - Malicious traffic and cyber attacks

10:39 - Creating a more safe Internet with the Easy Pray podcast

12:43 - Unfortunate spam and scamming stories

15:18 - More about Chris’s goal to provide education to his listeners

18:40 - Learnings and takeaways to avoid being scammed

24:02 - Tools that Chris is using to grow and scale his business

26:51 - How to stay up to date with Chris Parker

 

Links:

Learn more about Chris Parker and visit his website and podcast.

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek

 

Episode 120 - Bishops, Black Belts, and Business with Jeff Cook

Episode 120 - Bishops, Black Belts, and Business with Jeff Cook

February 16, 2021

In this featured episode of Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek. Jeff has over 10 years of experience in both accounting and auditing and has set out a mission to “make compliance suck less”

Jeff began his career at accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. In 2002, the firm surrendered it’s license to practice as a CPA which forced Jeff to consider working at other firms. This surprise turned out to be a blessing as it made him transition from New York to Washington DC. After his transition, Jeff worked in public accounting and auditing for 12 years and began starting IT auditing practices and SOC practices at large accounting firms. 

While working at a cybersecurity firm, Jeff met his co-founder AJ Yawn. The two worked on numerous SOC engagements together - which gave them the confidence to scale their ideas and efforts to make compliance suck less. Despite 2020 being the beginning of a global pandemic, the two decided to persevere and form their company ByteChek.

As the episode progresses, Jeff describes his partnership with AJ as dynamic and fluid. Jeff brings to the table a deep understanding of accounting and auditing challenges and solutions. Jeff admires AJ’s ability to be a leader and rally the troops to ensure everyone is moving in the right direction. Besides complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses, Jeff and AJ are also great friends and check-in together to help each other grow personally outside of work.

Jeff describes his superpower as his ability to work under pressure. When there’s deadlines and a surplus of work, Jeff leans on his experience as an accountant. While working as an accountant, each year in January through April (tax season) Jeff had to practice his discipline of working under pressure with clear deadlines from his clients and the government. Additionally, Jeff has spent years practicing martial arts, and describes it as a great technique to use to clear his mind in all situations.

 

Impactful Moments

0:00 - Welcome back to the Hacker Valley Studio

1:41 - This episode features Jeff Cook, Co-Founder, and CFO of ByteChek

2:26 - Jeff’s background and start in accounting and auditing

5:08 - Thriving in business as a founder during a global pandemic

8:31 - Jeff’s superpower and where it began

11:16 - How to overcome your kryptonite and core emotional challenge

13:58 - How martial arts has helped Jeff as a practitioner

17:48 - Parallels between cybersecurity, chess, and martial arts

21:21 - Getting comfortable with discomfort

28:14 - Wisdom from Jeff for leveling up as a entrepreneur and practitioner

 

Links:

Learn more about Jeff Cook and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek

We Are Here Part 2: A Cyber Masterminds Discussion

We Are Here Part 2: A Cyber Masterminds Discussion

February 10, 2021

Hacker Valley Studio presents: We Are Here - an audio journey and series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity. In part two of this series, Ron and Chris host a mastermind conversation with Tia Hopkins, Charles Nwatu, AJ Yawn, and Kelvin Coleman. In this special conversation, we discuss ExIST, a framework to promote excellence in the pursuit of human endeavors like hobbies, careers, and finding purpose.

Explore

As humans, we’re always on the brink of discovery. Watching a documentary, witnessing someone perform a piece of art or a eureka moment might be all that it takes to pull you in a new direction to explore a new topic. Learning something new can be like stepping into a new world that you’ve never experienced. This leap can be exciting, scary, or even uneventful but always leads to discovery.

 

Tia Hopkins began exploring technology since she can remember. One of her first memories of her interest in technology was when she noticed her mom stopped buying her toys because she would take them apart to understand how they worked. Tia took a giant leap into the new world of technology when she took apart her family and realized that she had to put it back together before her mom found out. Tia has explored many facets of technology from working with Internet Service Providers, IT teams, and Managed Detection and Response teams.

Immerse

After deciding which world to ExIST in, the next step to understanding and mastery is immersion. This is surrounding yourself in a new topic or idea and learning what it means to succeed in that arena. In sports, this might be watching a professional game and learning more about the rules. In cybersecurity, immersion may be reading blogs on the topic or watching YouTube videos that explain a focus area. While immersing yourself in this world you’ll identify the mindset needed to remain there and grow.

 

Charles Nwatu’s advice on immersion is to not be afraid to fail - It's the only way you succeed. Not giving yourself the opportunity to take the shot is even worse than failure itself. Learn how to consume content in any way that works best for you - read, listen, watch everything you possibly can. Identify ways that help you articulate what you’ve learned to others.

Study

After learning the rules and where the boundaries exist in the new world, the next step is to study. Using tools, knowledge, examples and mentors to improve your capabilities. If you’re learning about a topic with subtopics, you may need to re-immerse yourself in areas that you’re weak on. In this phase of the framework, you're using your new capabilities to rapidly learn and improve.

 

AJ Yawn provides the advice of staying focused and ignoring the results. To Focus AJ often implements the  90-90-1 rule. And it's taking 90 days spending the first 90 minutes of your day, focusing on ONE thing. Whenever AJ is trying out a new endeavour he ignores the results for the first 90 days, even if there’s no visible improvements. When picking up anything new the focus should be on the attempt rather than the outcome.

Translate / Transform 

Translation is expressing the sense of wisdom into language. During this part of the ExIST framework, you’re using the collection of experience and wisdom to create, innovate, or teach. Taking your developed ability and bettering the lives of others.

 

Kelvin Coleman has always been an advocate of teaching others and promoting the people in the cybersecurity industry. Kelvin can recall researching and reciting state capitals that he’d take to his meetings to build a rapport with city and state government stakeholders. While the name of a state capital or mascot may not seem critical, it helped his customers understand that he does the research and cares about doing what is best for everyone.

 

Impactful Moments

0:00 - We Are Here a series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity

1:13 - Kelvin Coleman, the strategic mastermind

1:50 - Tia Hopkins, the technical juggernaut

2:25 - Charles Nwatu, the wise warrior

3:00 - AJ Yawn, the empathetic CEO

4:28 - ExIST, a framework to promote excellence

5:40 - Explore

22:14 - Immerse

56:09 - Study

1:10:10 - Translate/Transform

1:20:12 - Sage wisdom from our mastermind group

1:25:20 - How to keep in touch with our amazing guests

 

Stay In Touch Kelvin Coleman on LinkedIn

Connect with Tia Hopkins on LinkedIn and Empow(her) Cybersecurity

Follow Charles Nwatu on LinkedIn

Stay connected with AJ Yawn on LinkedIn

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

 

Get your start in cybersecurity with SANS through their Diversity Cyber Academy!
Applications are now open, and SANS is looking for the best and brightest to diversify the field! The
SANS ICMCP Diversity Cyber Academy is available for current college students, college graduates, and
career changers who are not already working in cybersecurity.
Those interested can go to sans.org/dca or if you’d like to learn more about what SANS is doing on the
Diversity and Inclusion front please visit https://www.sans.org/about/diversity

We Are Here Part 1: Patrice Washington

We Are Here Part 1: Patrice Washington

February 8, 2021

Hacker Valley Studio presents: We Are Here - an audio journey and series exploring black excellence in cybersecurity. in part one of this series, Ron and Chris interview Patrice Washington, one of the world's most popular podcasters and authors. This episode in the series is a story of ascension.

As we begin the episode Patrice mentions although she has a background in education, she’s here because of the hard work she put in during uncertain times and stepping into the unknown. 

In 2009, Patrice was in her mid 20s and graduated from the University of Southern California with a business degree emphasizing entrepreneurial studies. During her senior year she started a real estate and mortgage brokerage and grew it to a seven figure business by 25. Everything changed for Patrice after becoming a mother and experiencing the housing crisis shortly after experiencing so much success. Between ages 25 to 28 years old, she went from seven figure business owner to being on the bathroom floor, bawling and snotting and crying scraping up change in couch cushions.

Patrice describes that “doing all the things”, “checking all the boxes”, or “being the one” is not the path to professional or financial success. From following her faith and reading scripture she was reminded, “What good is money in the hands of a fool if they have no desire to seek wisdom?”

Patrice had a lot of knowledge, information, education but I didn't have wisdom. Which is how to apply knowledge, when to apply education, and with whom to apply education. Since March, 2009 Patrice has been on a mission to go everywhere she can and teach others that the journey is not just about chasing money, it’s about seeking wisdom.

What helped turn around Patrice’s life was an unlikely encounter with blogging mothers at Starbucks that gave her the idea of sharing her story through blogs. She was instantly reminded of her first grade teacher. Patrice recalled Ms. Boynton saying, “Miss Cunningham, you know something, you have a responsibility. To share with your friends is not enough. You have to share what you know to everyone, so that everybody moves forward”. That’s what Patrice started to do with the blog, she began commitment to share everything that she has learned.

When Patrice began writing and speaking she began embracing her gifts. At the start of her career she was writing, speaking and educating others with real estate but later realized that her gift was in sharing information and teaching others in a broader way. Patrice began asking herself, “How can I feel the same joy I felt to help others get to the aha moment when buying a home but without the real estate transaction?”. She searched for answers and found examples but none done by a black woman. Though this was discouraging, there was enough supporting information to let her know that if she stepped into the unknown she’d define her own success.

Redefining your wealth and life is done through being intentional. It starts by doing what you adore and not being too tied with how much it pays. Setting intentions through your day, calendar, and time is a great place to start to begin understanding what you enjoy and what you can make into a career. Your career is not the only aspect of your life that generates wealth, your well-being is the vessel that guides you to wealth. Redefining your wealth and life means that you’re putting your health as a top priority.

 

Impactful Moments:

0:00 - Intro

0:52 - Patrice Washington on Hacker Valley Studio!

1:55 - Patrice’s background and dedication to hard work

6:04 - Going from seven figure business to zero and redefining wealth

9:47 - Identifying and applying purpose

15:08 - Dissolving the need for validation from others

20:32 - What others can do to disassociate their purpose from money

26:36 - Investing in your health NOW, not when you’re sick

31:15 - Advice for embarking on the journey of redefining wealth

 

Pre-order Redefine Wealth for Yourself: How to Stop Chasing Money and Finally Live Your Life's Purpose

Connect with Patrice Washington on LinkedIn and Twitter

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Episode 117 - Technically Unstoppable with Tia Hopkins

Episode 117 - Technically Unstoppable with Tia Hopkins

February 1, 2021

In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Tia Hopkins, Founder of Empow(H)er Cybersecurity with the focus of empowering mentoring, educating, and providing opportunities for women of color. Tia is also VP, Global Solutions Engineering at eSentire.

The episode begins by Tia describing her early interests in technology. She began exploring her interest by taking apart her family computer - After her mom found out that she disassembled the computer, she quickly learned that she had to reassemble it before there were consequences. Early in Tia’s career she worked at phone companies installing DSL, IT operations, and managing technology focused teams. Tia has always been a doer and problem solver which led to resistance when first being called to become a leader. She was initially concerned that if she wasn’t hands-on with technical issues that she wouldn’t be as effective as a leader. However, she discovered that as a leader she can leverage her experience to have a broader impact through her team. 

As the episode progresses, the cast chat about “Happy Accidents”. Tia had the opportunity to get involved with the Social Movement project by a coincidental conversation with a stranger at a cybersecurity conference many years ago. The premise of the project is 4 days to change the world. Tia’s challenge during the project was to solve racism issues by bringing brilliant minds together. Tia mentions that the challenge is a tall order but great minds in the world can solve any problem.

During COVID-19, a lot has changed for Hacker Valley Studio - Ron and Chris used to record in the same studio but now record separately due to the lockdown. Despite this difference in production, HVS has been able to scale and grow by dividing and conquering tasks. Tia can relate to this sentiment because without COVID-19 she likely would have not started Empow(H)er Cybersecurity. In addition to starting her foundation, Tia has also started a PhD program. When asked her about her superpower, Tia describes her ability to get things done. As a former athlete, Tia has a growth mindset and is determined to accomplish her goals.

 

Meaningful moments in the podcast:

0:00 - Intro

1:51 - Tia Hopkins on Hacker Valley Studio Podcast

2:39 - Tia’s background and start in technology

4:24 - Tia’s perspective on being a leader

7:17 - Induction in the American Football Hall of Fame

9:01 - Social Movement Season 2

14:30 - Developing and working on your craft

16:50 - What has changed since COVID-19

19:00 - Tia’s Superpower

24:13 - Personal resiliency techniques

28:47 - How to stay in touch with Tia Hopkins

 

Links:

Connect with Tia Hopkins on LinkedIn.

Follow Empow(H)er Cybersecurity on Twitter and LinkedIn

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor AttackIQ

Episode 116 - Start-Up Secure with Chris Castaldo

Episode 116 - Start-Up Secure with Chris Castaldo

January 26, 2021

In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, Ron and Chris are joined by Chris Castaldo, Chief Information Security Officer at Crossbeam and author of Start-Up Secure: Baking Cybersecurity into Your Company from Founding to Exit. Throughout his career, Chris noticed that the same cybersecurity related problems surface but there are many different ways to solve them.

Chris has always been passionate about startups and has plans to one day start his own company. While going through lists of top 10 books for startups and entrepreneurs he didn’t find any that mentioned how to do cybersecurity at a startup. This a significant gap for startups, not baking in cybersecurity early results in expensive rework 4-10 years after the startup is founded. This led to Chris writing Startup Secure - his goal was to create a guide and methodology for startup founders to avoid the expensive mistake of not baking cybersecurity into the startup in the beginning.

As the episode progresses, Chris highlights the difference in challenges for startups that are B2B (Business-to-Business) vs B2C (Business-to-Consumer). Cybersecurity startups must weigh the risks of building a product and building a secure company. It’s easier to implement all of the security controls offered by a solution when the startup is 20 employees or less because there is less impact on users and business functions. When cybersecurity startups are selling to organizations with cybersecurity teams, the startup is asked tough questions. For example:

  • What is your vendor review process?
  • Is your startup leveraging cloud security controls?
  • What is your privacy policy?

 

As a cybersecurity professional, Chris emphases the importance of networking with other professionals. There is an increase in virtual conferences and adoption of LinkedIn. Asking questions to the leaders in the field and providing mentorship to others both provide a significant impact while cultivating your career. Chris also highlights the importance of following up on conversations to build relationships and securing opportunities. 

When transitioning from engineer to CISO, Chris found that being intentional and purposeful with his time was impactful in his transition. He developed these skills by reading books about stoicism. He found that focusing on “the right thing to do” was tough because of constant distractions but being purposeful was the solution to distraction. Instead of focusing on all the things that were on his plate he would break down his goals into smaller chunks and give them his undivided attention for a specific amount of time.

 

Moments During This Podcast:

0:00 - Intro

1:57 - Chris Castaldo on Hacker Valley Studio Podcast

2:47 - Chris’ start in cybersecurity as a red team member

3:50 - Why did Chris write his book Startup Secure

6:58 - Challenges of implementing cybersecurity at a startup

9:56 - What excites Chris about cybersecurity

13:35 - How do you immerse yourself in learning about cybersecurity?

17:33 - Surprises when transitioning from engineer to CISO

22:43 - Core tenants of solving hard problems

25:53 - Protecting the crown jewels at an organization during a breach

33:38 - Advice on sharing knowledge with the world

 

Links:

Pre-order Start-Up Secure: Baking Cybersecurity into Your Company from Founding to Exit

Learn more about Chris Castaldo and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek.

Episode 115  - Podcast Takeover with Carole Theriault

Episode 115 - Podcast Takeover with Carole Theriault

January 20, 2021

The tables have turned on Ron and Chris this episode and they are interviewed by guest host, Carole Theriault! Besides being a two-time guest on the Hacker Valley Studio Podcast, Carole is producer and host of the Smashing Security Podcast and Sticky Pickles podcast. Carole put together 7 serious questions and 7 funny questions to interview Ron and Chris.

 

Question #1 - How did you get into podcasting?

Ron - describes his entry into podcasting as a surprise. Ron had set up a studio at his home in San Jose, California with the intention to create YouTube videos. When Chris relocated to the area, he suggested that the two get on the microphones and have a conversation to see where it goes - Where the two began speaking about Cybersecurity Alchemy. 

Chris - Before moving to Silicon Valley, Chris experimented with content creation on Instagram and worked with professionals to document his weight loss journey. This experiment went well but left Chris hoping to make a greater impact through content creation.

 

Question #2 - What are the most surprising lessons you learned from podcasting

Carole begins by describing her most surprising lesson is the sheer amount of work.

Chris was surprised about all of the aspects that go into a quality production. For example, mastering the sound of the podcast.

Ron describes the most surprising lesson being the work that goes into show notes and the conversion of full-length topics into bite sized nuggets.

 

Question #3 - What trait do you like most in your podcast partner

Ron - Chris’ accountability and availability. We meet together daily during the week to discuss goals, challenges, and collaboration opportunities. When help is needed, Chris is consistently there to help.

Chris - Ron’s calm, understated competitiveness nature. The competitive nature pushes both of us to get better everyday. 

 

Question #4 - What do you worry most about when creating an episode of Hacker Valley Studio?

Chris - Capturing great quality audio. During post-production, we can fix nearly everything like “ahs”, “ums”, awkward pauses but not poor quality audio. Carole can relate to this technical difficulty as she has experienced difficulties with hearing feedback from internal microphones on her podcasts

Ron - HVS has had over a hundred episodes and around 10% of the guests have never been on a podcast. When recording with the 10% that have not been on a podcast before Ron’s main goal and concern is to ensure that the guest is comfortable. Creating an environment where guests can share their story and as.king great questions creates raving fans of our content through our listeners and guests

 

Question #5 - Who does more of the work on the podcast?

Ron - Chris is the GOAT for the HVS podcast. In the very beginning, Ron said that he did most of the work. In the beginning Ron was editing the video and audio for the podcast but at some point, Chris became curious about the audio editing process and fell in love with the process and built a strong foundation for rapidly increasing the quality of Hacker Valley Studio content.

 

Follow up to Question #5 - Chris do you appreciate about Ron’s contribution to the podcast?

Chris - Our chemistry. Episode one shows our chemistry because even though we did not have any experience podcasting, we still had a great conversational flow. It didn’t take anytime for us to build this chemistry up because Ron is able to read expressions and see where I’m going with questions and answers. Ron has always been able to pick up where I left off and bring up topics that I may forget.

 

Question #6 - Which episode of HVS sticks out most in your mind and why?

Chris - Episode 40 with Daniel Meade. This episode started out with us speaking with Daniel about AppSec but had many turns where we got to experience Daniel’s authentic humor and moments of growth throughout his life. This episode helped shape the future of Hacker Valley Studio.

Ron - Episode 104 with Robin Black. This episode has very little connection with technology and cybersecurity but focuses on the auxiliary skills that make practitioners at any craft great. Robin is fascinated with his work and crossing the chasm to gain expertise from similar or related fields.

 

Question #7 - What does success mean for Hacker Valley Studio?

Ron - Having fun during the process. Chris and I are extremely successful at this point because we’ve been enjoying creating the process everyday. We are lucky enough to speak to experts, work with vocal coaches, and learn how to make quality productions each week.

Chris - The impact on the listener. We’ve received emails and messages on social media from listeners that have thanked us for helping them get into cybersecurity and promoted within their field. We’ve been able to create our own journey and be part of others journeys.

 

Moments During the Podcast

 

0:00 - Intro

1:22 - Carole Theriault takes over Hacker Valley Studio! 

2:50 - How Chris and Ron got into podcasting

5:06 - Would you rather be 8 foot tall or have eight feet?

5:55 - What are the most surprising lessons you learned from podcasting?

8:13 - If you were on a desert island, what luxury item would you bring?

9:10 - What trait do you like most in your podcast partner?

11:17 - What's your favorite thing to do outside of work and family responsibilities?

14:07 - What do you worry most about when creating an episode of Hacker Valley Studio?

18:55 - What is one thing any friend or family member could do to make you laugh or smile?

20:28 - Who does more of the work on Hacker Valley Studio podcast?

24:50 - Who would play you in a movie?

27:30 - Which episode of HVS sticks out most in your mind and why?

37:16 - How would you define success for Hacker Valley Studio?

 

Links:

Our guest host Carole Theriault

Carole’s podcast - Smashing Security and Sticky Pickles

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek

Episode 114 -  The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Threat Intelligence with Patrick Coughlin

Episode 114 - The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Threat Intelligence with Patrick Coughlin

January 12, 2021

In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, hosts Ron and Chris interview Patrick Coughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of TruSTAR. Patrick began his career as a security analyst in Washington D.C. and the middle east. By working with government contractors, multinational corporations, and counter-terrorism units, Patrick learned that the biggest challenge that security analysts have is retrieving the needed information from disparate data sources. This discovery led Patrick to founding TruStar. Patrick’s focus is to help organizations automate the collection and curation of threat intelligence data.

Patrick’s analytical prowess originated from working at Booz Allen Hamilton where he learned a fundamental skill that all cybersecurity analysts should have - how to put together a slide deck. This skill helped Patrick articulate the importance of threat intelligence to leaders in the government and private sector. 

As the episode progresses, Patrick details the differences between threat intelligence requirements for national security and enterprise. For enterprise threat intelligence programs, the goal is to accelerate automation of detection and rarely attribution. Patrick also mentions automation is only as effective as the data is cleaned, normalized, and prioritized. 

What about the good, bad, and ugly of threat intelligence? Patrick describes that an organization can thrive by leveraging internal intelligence. This can be overlooked when organizations are fixated on buying threat data feeds and subscribing to ISAC feeds. Most enterprise organizations have a detection and response stack that is constantly providing information about threats relevant to their organization - which serves as great threat intelligence data.

Chris and Ron ask Patrick about the science vs art aspects of cybersecurity and threat intelligence. Patrick describes that there is room for both art and science in threat intelligence. While new concepts are being discovered, there is art in finding the needle in the haystack. However, at some point, intuition can be described into steps that a machine can repeat. For example, after years of analytical practice an analyst can describe how and why they are tagging threat intelligence related data in such a way that can be repeated by other analysts or automation. 

This episode covers an abundance of tactics and techniques for threat intelligence analysts. Patrick describes the best place to begin automating threat intelligence is detection. An analyst can ask the question, “How do I get sources of known bad indicators into my detection stack so that I could drive high fidelity detections?”. As false positives decrease, your mean time to detection (MTTD) and resolution (MTTR) decrease which makes your threat intelligence and security operation team members more effective.

 

0:00 - Intro

1:53 - This episode features Patrick Coughlin, Co-Founder and CEO of TruSTAR

2:30 - Patrick’s background and start as a security analyst

5:19 - How to automate threat intelligence while reducing analyst fatigue

7:05 - How Patrick cultivated his analyst prowess

8:43 - Articulating threat intelligence to government and enterprise organizations

11:09 - Can a threat intelligence program be automated?

17:21 - Patrick’s experience of “good” and “bad” threat intelligence programs

20:31 - Logic vs Intuition in threat intelligence

27:04 - Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make threat intelligence decisions

28:42 - Where to start when automating threat intelligence

30:02 - How to stay in touch with Patrick Coughlin

 

Links: 

Connect with Patrick Coughlin on LinkedIn

Link to Patrick’s company TruSTAR

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek

Take our FREE course for building threat intelligence programs by visiting www.hackervalley.com/easy

Episode 113 - Astonishing Stories with Neil Bearden

Episode 113 - Astonishing Stories with Neil Bearden

January 6, 2021

In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, hosts Ron and Chris interview Neil Bearden, storytelling expert and founder of The Story School and Plot Wolf Ltd. Neil originally started his career by teaching statistics and behavioral economics but had an astonishing introduction to storytelling by a stranger in San Francisco.

The episode begins by Neil sharing that he began his career in academia by completing a PhD in psychology which led to him teaching statistics, behavioral economics and behavioral decision-making. At some point, Neil found that he had a passion for storytelling and started the first MBA course at our INSEAD university on storytelling called storytelling workshop. Teaching storytelling at university helped Neil discover that the storytelling market is the entire world! Which ultimately led to his recognition and founding companies that help individuals tell their greatest stories. 

While completing his postdoctoral studies at Duke University in 2005, Neil attended a neuroscience conference in San Francisco where he decided to go for a walk and ran into a stranger that asked him, “Would you like to hear some poetry young man?”. After Neil agreed, the man said:

“They’re latent semantics embedded deep down inside these rambles; these aren't the ravings of a madman alone, the dark with candles. 

These are my notes, the underground they were sent to me from the year 2012

Dusky as he said to a beat these lyrics, they were pinned in a prison cell

Caught up with a knife, sent to the compression of vacuum tubes that articulate expressions 

Are readily answered with a question. 

A rhythm that's progressing

It keeps the head nodding like you agreeing with the lesson

Your freedom, It's called the question - Free will. That's obsolescent. 

It's a myth from long ago. It's no longer relevant to the present. 

So you must obey then all your thoughts young man, you must replace them with this prism. You’re plugged into the system. You too are now in prison. 

In the matrix of your mind known as walls, ancient wisdom in a system of symbols, encrypted and deeply hidden 

In the depths of your unconscious as if it were forbidden from outside awareness, by the id who does its bidding”

The man introduced himself as Osiris, a poet. For several hours, Neil and Osiris shared life experiences together while Osiris recited poems at his own accord throughout the night. After departing, Neil never had the opportunity to meet Osiris again but did attempt to track him down years later with no luck.

After the introduction to Osiris, Neil made a commitment that he’d begin writing poetry and cultivate the courage to share his stories publicly. Neil learned that he could halt beer bottles from clinking, discussions happening, and have listeners lean in while telling a great story. This compelled Neil to pivot from teaching statistics at university to teaching storytelling. After teaching storytelling for many years, Neil realized that he wanted to make a bigger impact and become an entrepreneur and teach storytelling to anyone who needs it.

Today, Neil helps companies and individuals add spice to their stories by extracting the details of a story that helps listeners internalize and visualize the nutrient rich details of a story. Neil is often humbled by the fact that he was able to pivot to a psychology PhD to storyteller organically and is able to help so many through having conversations. 

As the podcast progresses, Neil highlights the difference between a story and a “crappy little speech”. While telling a story, the presenter needs to invoke a visual experience for the audience and provide a mental movie. Providing description of looks, taste, and feel helps build a mental model for the audience when being told a story. Everyone has experiences and knowledge that is story worthy.

 

0:00 - Intro

2:52 - This episode features Neil Bearden, founder of The Story School and Plot Wolf Ltd

3:57 - Neil’s introduction to storytelling by Osiris, the poet.

12:20 - The search for Osiris after 2005

15:09 - How Neil helps companies and individuals with storytelling
18:03 - Difference between a story and a crappy little speech

23:51 - Shaking the dust off of a story and making it great

26:00 - Using previous experience from statistics to tell stories

36:36 - Advice for beginning to tell your story

41:00 - How to stay in touch with Neil Bearden

 

Links: 

Connect with Neil Bearden on LinkedIn

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio.

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon.

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter.

Follow hosts Ron Eddings and Chris Cochran on Twitter.

Learn more about our sponsor ByteChek

Episode 112  - Cybersecurity and Ambient Computing with Dr. James Stanger

Episode 112 - Cybersecurity and Ambient Computing with Dr. James Stanger

December 17, 2020

In this episode of the Hacker Valley Studio podcast, hosts Ron and Chris interview the brilliant Dr. James Stanger, Chief Technology Evangelist at CompTIA and scuba diving aficionado.  The episode is a kind of journey through time - touching on the past, present, and future of cybersecurity.  

As the conversation begins, James looks to the past, sharing about himself and his background.  He studied English Literature, worked as a technical editor and then writer, worked in education, and finally made his way to a position with CompTIA.  All along, James demonstrated his propensity for combining aspects of his knowledge and experience, a propensity revealed most recently by the way in which his work for CompTIA merges education and cybersecurity.  James’ background has an incredible evolution to it, and has set him up to be a well-rounded and knowledgeable addition to the cybersecurity field.

And his knowledge comes in handy, as much of James’s work involves answering client questions.  James shares with Ron and Chris about current trends of questions he’s facing, as well as how he encourages agility in the face of emerging technology.  Further, he explains the term, “ambient computing” and its tie to emerging tech, concluding that we are entering a hyper- or post-information age in which data is collected at an incredible rate.  Data is in the air, captured, and processed, with massive stores of information about individuals available.  This fact raises questions about how to ethically manage the data, and how to make sure it is used well.  These questions, in turn, lead to considerations of business compliance, ramifications, and the like.  As the conversation winds down, James shares areas of opportunity he sees in approaching cybersecurity from a business perspective, and explores ways in which he’d like to see the future of cybersecurity take shape - including an uptick in IT hiring, a stronger focus on implications, and more!

0:00 - Intro

1:41 - This episode features Dr. James Stanger, who begins by sharing about his background.

5:25 - What kinds of questions are companies and individuals asking these days?

8:04 - How is Dr. Stanger advising companies to pursue agility in light of emerging tech?

11:19 - What is ambient computing?

13:43 - The conversation turns to ethics, understanding of ramifications, and business compliance.

17:02 - What areas of opportunity does James see in approaching cybersecurity from a business perspective?

21:01 - James shares about what he wants the future of cybersecurity to look like.

 

Links: 

Follow James Stanger on Twitter

Connect with James on LinkedIn

Learn more about CompTIA

Follow CompTIA on Youtube 

Learn more about Hacker Valley Studio

Support Hacker Valley Studio on Patreon

Follow Hacker Valley Studio on Twitter

Follow Ronald Eddings on Twitter

Follow Chris Cochran on Twitter

Learn more about ByteChek

Want to take the Introduction to EASY Framework Course with Ron and Chris? Take it for FREE here: www.hackervalley.com/easy